'I need a new job,' he thought, gazing at his tired reflection in the bus window. Mid-November wind blew rain against his window, obscuring what little he could see past his mirrored face. It was Christmas season in retail now and stores were open later. He hated closing shifts and having to come home in the dark.
Though he was tired and lost in his thoughts the sound of a disturbance behind him roused him instantly. A fallen umbrella, a barking grunt and then the screams. He was out of his seat, gun in hand before the driver had time to react. He had a bead on his target quickly given the confines of a city bus, but as the driver realized what was happening and hit the brakes he had to grab onto a pole to avoid falling backwards. Regaining his balance he found he had lost his original shot. The zombie had fallen forward as well and an older couple sitting directly behind were in his field of fire. "Hey!" he shouted. The zombie rose and took two to the head, dropping him instantly.
The bus was silent. A few other passengers had managed to draw their weapons but most had only been in the process of drawing them. Seeing there was no further threat their guns were returned to holsters, purses and pockets.
"Did he bite anyone?" he asked, pistol still drawn. His ears were still ringing from the two shots so he asked again, but from the look on the young woman three seats from the rear, he already knew the answer.
"Fuck," he whispered to himself.
It was his kill, his responsibility. That was the law. He took a few steps towards her, enough to see the bitten arm she cradled. The driver approached after calling it in and locking down the bus.
"Haz/Mat team'll be here in ten, they're just finishing a clean at the mall. 'Nother bus has been rerouted for us," he reported. "I swept the bus back at the loop twenty minutes ago and I was clean. He musta come on pretty sick but I didn't notice him." The girl looked up, eyes brimming but not crying yet. She had that look of incredulity he had seen far too many times.
'Fuckin' closing shifts,' he thought again. "You want to call somebody?" he asked. Then the tears came.
"Thank you," she whispered.
"Drop her, dude, you know the rules," called a kid from across the aisle.
"Shut it, let her make her call," he said watching her fumble with her cell.
"We've all got connections to make, buddy," said a man in a business suit beside him. He had drawn a snub nosed .38 from under his jacket. "If you can't handle it-"
"Clean your hands off and try again," he said to the woman whose bloody fingers were slipping on the phone. His gun was now pointing at Business Man's face.
"Mister..." came the driver from behind. He pulled back the hammer on the gun and looked around from face to face.
"I just finished a nine hour shift. I'm tired, I'm hungry and my feet are killing me. Christmas is a month away and I say she gets to say goodbye to somebody. Does anyone have a problem with that?" There were no responses. Some stared back angry or frightened, most just avoided his gaze.
'I need a new job,' he thought, closing his eyes.